Michael Goldberg, DVM, CHom
How many times have you gone to your doctor with a problem and been referred to a specialist? Or maybe you go to the doctor with a physical problem but want to discuss something that's on an emotional or spiritual plane; you feel uneasy because you have only 10 to 15 minutes and don't want to fill the doctor's time wi.
How many times have you gone to your doctor with a problem and been referred to a specialist?
Or maybe you go to the doctor with a physical problem but want to discuss something that's on an emotional or spiritual plane; you feel uneasy because you have only 10 to 15 minutes and don't want to fill the doctor's time with this "other stuff."
If these scenarios sound familiar, you're not alone.
Human medicine has reached the point where there's a practitioner for every body part. This sort of segmentation is great for us "need-to-knowers" because it results in knowledge that is very thorough in particular areas. We are performing surgeries and transplants in both human and veterinary medicine that would have been unheard of just a few short years ago. However, there's also a downside to this fragmented approach: it takes us away from looking at a people or pets in their entirety.
Fortunately for our animal companions, wholistic veterinary medicine is changing the current face of pet care. This new regime involves looking not only at a pet's physical problems, but also taking into account other mental, emotional, environmental and inherited factors as well.
Take the case of Big Boy, a very nice, small dog. When he first came to me, he was so attached to his owner that every morning when she was about to leave for work, he began to walk around and shake uncontrollably. He was a nervous, anxious wreck. He would howl and cry continuously after she left. Soon, the neighbour's complaints began to arrive. After numerous upsetting episodes, Big Boy's owner decided it was time to seek help.
The approach we took with Big Boy was twofold. His type of behaviour can be treated with behaviour modification therapy. The idea is to gradually increase the time spent away from a pet by coming and going at different intervals. Quick, non-emotional exits are another hallmark of this therapy.
We also decided that it was a good idea to treat Big Boy with homeopathy. I interviewed the owner and considered all Big Boy's physical, mental and emotional characteristics. He seemed to be most anxious when he anticipated the owner leaving, and he also had a cyst on his back.
Arsenicum album was our remedy of choice. (When Arsenicum album is given to a healthy individual, it creates a fear or anxiety of the future, as well as an anxiety of death. The remedy has also cured cysts in its history of use.)
Arsenicum made a huge difference. After just one dose, Big Boy's behaviour seemed to change. He became calmer. After a few days, not only was he calm, but he also didn't make a fuss when the owner began getting ready for work. At time of print, he has received a total of three doses of the homeopathic remedy, which, coupled with the behaviour modification therapy, has shown dramatic improvement in his anxiety.
In my opinion, there's something commonsensical about approaching health care in a manner that combines both the emotional and the physical aspects of health. This way of thinking creates a "whole" out of what was formerly considered a mere collection of body parts, and the result is greater improvement in animal well-being.